Monday, August 20, 2012

Fab or Drab Book Signings

Book Signings (n.) Meeting the author of your dreams and ending up with the best night of your life...or the worst.

Way back in the day (okay, not that far back), but back enough that my first email account ended with and the internet only had a handful of boring college sites. There was no facebook, no blogger, no twitter and definitely no book signings. In fact, I attended one of the very first LA Times Book Festivals held on campus in 1997 when I met Michael Crichton and had him sign my torn paperback copy of Congo. Yeah, that was embarrassing.

Then I went to my first "official" book event for Eoin Colfer and I. was. hooked. He was funny and friendly, even if I was the hundredth person he had to sign for.
Wow. I look really young here...Hmm...and so does Eoin. 
But ever since meeting the fantastic Mr. Colfer, I've met with some pretty fab and unfortunately, disappointingly drab signings.

So what makes it FAB...or DRAB?

FAB: Authors who meet and greet.

R.L. LaFevers, Cynthia Hand, Marie Lu, Kiersten White:
Each of these authors were VERY nice and personable.
I've been to 3 of Kiersten White's book signings and each time she's made it worth the drive. Kiersten really knows how to make you feel that buying her book meant something to her. She and her entourage always interact with the audience: making jokes and having fun. During the book signing itself, Kiersten always has something nice to say to me(!). Granted I think a lot of this has to do with the author's personality, and I'm not asking for hyperactivity or anything...just pretend to be happy/excited/grateful that I read your book! Because on the flip side, I've been to book signings where the author barely glanced at me while signing her book and another where the author seemed really bored to be there. And that's when I went away thinking "Remind me again, why I drove an hour (plus) to see you?"

DRAB: Waiting in line for hours, only to ride on a conveyor belt of signings.
At least Riordan's signing my book, even if he is talking to another reader. 
I guess this one is sort of inevitable. When an author becomes so big that there's 400+ people waiting for a signed book, it makes sense to move them along, otherwise she/he could be there for HOURS. And I get that. And a lot of times, there's a special event beforehand to make up for it: with Riordan, there was a huge Roman Festival; with Meyer, there was the Breaking Dawn concert. But as a reader, it's still a huge disappointment to miss out on a little bit of face time. Even a "Hi, thanks for coming" would be lovely. Is there a solution to this? Limit the amount of attendees? Ticketed events for a "meet and greet"? I don't know if there is a way to solve the problem of the masses...ideas anyone?

FAB: An author talks...and I listen!
You're in for a treat with Bree Despain!
Even though I had a major migraine, I still think Bree Despain's signing was one of THE BEST.  She gets the award for "Most Entertaining, Insightful, Dramatic Presentation" ever. I was loving and laughing every minute of her speech. Of course, Eoin Colfer is a close second with the "BEST Comedy Act by an Author" award. Getting to know the author this way makes me even more excited about their books! If you get the chance to see one of these authors, you are in for a real treat.

DRAB: No photographs please.

Okay, so this one relates to the conveyor belt of signings. It's a downer when the fine print says no posed photography with the author. Isn't the whole point of going to a signing to get that photo op with your book celebrity?! Yeah, yeah...I know, it has to do with all those other readers who want a photo too, and if it takes 2 minutes per reader and there's 400 people...well, I guess she/he will end up on a caffeine drip. So how to solve this? I am suddenly envisioning those Santa photos you take at the mall but instead of Santa, it's your author...minus the lap sitting, of course.

FAB: Authors that hand out party favors!

"Daughter of Smoke..." Tattoo, "Hero of Olympus" Pin,
 Signed "Mind Games" Bookmark
As if getting a signed copy isn't enough! I love it when authors/publishers give out favors for meeting them. It says, "Thank you for reading/buying my book." I know it's all for publicity to share the book love but in this case it's a win-win situation for all. I get something cool. I brag tell everyone about how cool she/he is. Then more people want to buy the book...see, everyone's happy. Really, I should have gone into marketing. But it's this type of publicity that works! And again, I have to mention Kiersten White: she gave out a zebra bag, a pound of chocolate, arcs, and other fun stuff to her audience!

DRAB: Missing a book signing.

It's a drab when you have been hoping and wishing for an author to come to your town...and then you miss it. Not because you couldn't make it but because you didn't know about it in the first place! This is the story of my life. I can't keep track of when new releases come out and when authors tour. I can't filter through all the websites and facebook pages. Am I missing something here? Is there a central location for all the author tours that I don't know about?

But whether it's a fab or drab moment, I am grateful to all the authors, publishers, and event coordinators for bringing us their books! I can't wait for the next one! And for all you author groupies out there, I hope your next book signing turns out to be a FAB moment! Also I'd love to hear what your FAB or DRAB book signing moment was!


Anonymous said...

Fab: Lauren Kate did give out nail polish. Drab: Would you like formaldehyde with that?

Fab: Cassandra Clare did hand out wrist bands. Drab: I still haven't read that book I got signed....over a year ago.

Fab: Knowing an author and they tell you that you could have just come over to their house to get the book signed instead of coming to the event. Drab: What drab? Oh, you mean the part about where I moved away and haven't spoken to her since. Oops.

E said...

FAB: Meeting an author you adore by sheer chance at a DRAB book signing...This happened during Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse book tour. Shannon Hale turned up and ended chatting for about ten minutes at the check out counter and signing both Enna Burning and River Secrets. Best book-signing experience ever. And this post was amazing, as always :) x